'Occupy'ing won't bring real change
It's the thought that counts. That, eventually, is what one is forced to say while looking at Occupy Wall Street -- the ongoing series of demonstrations across America. What these people in New York (and 70 major cities) are protesting against is 'corporate greed' and the influence of lobbyists on government policy.
Much of this reminds us of a 2010 documentary called Inside Job, directed by Charles H Ferguson. Winner of an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature that year, it was described by its maker as an exploration of the systematic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry. What both -- the documentary and the people behind Occupy Wall Street -- are understandably disturbed about most is the kind of influence their country's wealthiest 1 per cent exerts on laws and policies. This shouldn't come as a surprise to us in India, of course. We have long been used to a state of inequality that, over the decades, has only appeared to become worse.
The rich have grown richer; the poor, on the other hand, must now continue trying to make ends meet with the recommended sum of a princely Rs 32. Will this movement work? The outcome isn't looking good. The protests have already cost the city of New York a substantial amount of money, and copycat demonstrations around the world haven't managed to draw significant numbers of angry folk on to the streets.
The American government has made all the right noises, obviously, with some expressing support and a few labelling the protests 'dangerous.' What the people want, however, is change they can see. Changes in policy, changes in the way their financial institutions function, and changes in taxation that favour the poor instead of the rich. As history has shown, sadly, the chances of this happening are bleak.